Niagara Gazette


October 31, 2013

TOM'S CORNER: Automotive news from the desk at 'America's Car Show'

Niagara Gazette — A General Motors executive has confirmed the company is in the early stages of developing a battery-powered sedan that will have a range of approximately 300 miles and a base price of roughly $30,000.

Speaking at GM’s battery laboratory in Warren, Mich., GM vice president of global product programs Doug Parks explained the automaker currently has the technology to build an EV with a 200-mile range but it is far too expensive to enter regular production. The firm will work on lowering the battery pack’s price over the next couple of years, but Parks declined to comment when the EV will hit the market.

Likely taking the form of a large sedan, the unnamed car will provide buyers with a significantly cheaper alternative to the Tesla Model S, whose maximum range checks in at about 265 miles when equipped with the most potent — and expensive — battery pack.

Several months ago, GM CEO Dan Akerson formed a team of engineers and analysts whose task is to keep tabs on Tesla and how the startup can affect GM’s business over time. Executives have not made it clear how the team’s findings will influence the development of the upcoming EV.

  Suzuki recall

Suzuki has announced a recall covering nearly 200,000 vehicles in the United States. Suzuki no longer sells its car and trucks on these shores, but the Japanese automaker is still on the hook for any defects that could compromise safety on vehicles sold before they boogied from our shores.

Suzuki issued a recall on the 2006-11 Grand Vitara models and SX4s from the 2007-11 model years for an airbag defect. In all, the recall includes 193,936 vehicles.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the airbag sensor in the front passenger seat of the vehicles involved in the recall may become disconnected as a result of repeated flexing of the mat from use of the seat.” If that sensor fails, the front airbag will deploy “regardless of whether the front seat occupant is an adult or a child.

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